The Pursuer

Wearing the heavily-armored form of knights, the pursuers wander the continent on the hunt for any bearing the Darksign. Some possess the Ring of Blades associated with Adgarz, the mad knight of Alken. The fact that multiple rings were made in the shape of his weapon of choice indicates that he is their source of inspiration, not their owner, meaning that none of the pursuers are necessarily Adgarz himself. What this does imply, however, is that these enemies originate from Alken. Indeed, the majority of pursuers can be encountered at either the Iron Keep or the Lost Bastille — even the giant eagle carrying one to its nest in the Forest of Fallen Giants can carry us, presumably back, to the bastille. If nothing else, this puts them largely at or near Alken territory, often the capital of its hated neighbor; probably attracted to all the Undead concentrated there. The only reason to suspect a connection to Venn instead is the magic they can coat their sword in, sometimes using it to fire a blue sorcery-like wave. But there was a period when Alken became more open to sorcery: during the reign of the Old Iron King.

Soul of a Cursebound that wanders the land of Drangleig.

The Cursebound, who were given the command to hunt those who possess the sign, continue to fulfill that role even now.

The special soul this cursebound possesses is used to acquire a vast amount of souls or create a great power.

While their armor and weapons differ from the Eastern-style equipment of the Alonne Knights, that may have been deliberate. They were given the “command” to perform this specialized duty, segregating it from a knight’s normal work. One obvious criteria to be a pursuer is immense strength, enough to bear such thick, heavy armor, sword, and shield, not to mention the spare weapons strapped onto their back. In the same vein, the Ring of Blades demonstrates their focus on having as much offensive power as possible. If Adgarz did join their ranks, it was because of the knight’s berserker tendencies on the battlefield, which the one giving the command was also expecting from the rest; they were supposed to hunt and hunt and hunt. In that respect, they weren’t traditional knights, and the Hollows of Brume Tower confirm that Alken was still outfitting its warriors in more conventional equipment — and what other country had the iron to make such weighty equipment? On top of that, the operation at Huntsman’s Copse proves that the Iron King was committed to rooting out the Undead. Everything points to an Alken origin for them.

Regardless of their birthplace, the description for the Pursuers’ sword and shield suggests that their endless slaughter of Undead is a form of penance for their sins. If so, what sins do they bear? Perhaps they are Alken knights who turned Undead and so were tasked with slaying their own kind as penance for the sin. It is true that their survival into the present era requires they possess some form of immortality. That said, they are unaffected by Soul Appease and so are not mindless Hollows acting on instinct. Rather, what if their sin refers to the slaughtering of Undead itself? The task of killing men, women, and children who are unfortunate enough to bear the Darksign might be perceived as dishonorable for a knight. How many innocents were slain merely because of the threat their potential hollowing down the line posed? How many clear eyes desperately begging to be allowed to live did they stare into? That kind of killing is likely to burden a person, in more ways than one it would seem.

Greatshield of the Cursebound. Its heaviness thus chooses its handler. It is resistant to curses.

A Cursebound continues to slaughter Undead, who possess the sign. As if to make up for the sin he bears.

According to the Design Works interview, the pursuers’ design was based around their “cursed” armor permeated by equally cursed spirits. The designer’s commentary describes these spirits as swirling embodiments of malice squirming beneath the armor and trying to burst out of it — hence the outward dents in the chest armor resembling irate faces with black smoke leaking from their open “mouths”. Cursed equipment certainly explains why impaling us on their sword causes us to be cursed as well as why their shield is highly resistant to curses. The commentary also confirms that these are a collection of grudges the pursuers amassed. Such maledictions are typically the result of someone’s strong resentment over being killed, so who else can they be collecting them from except the countless Undead the knights slaughter? In other words, the pursuers bear the resentful souls of their murdered victims, cursing them.

The pursuers’ original name is jubakusha, (呪縛者) meaning the “spellbound” or “cursebound”. They aren’t necessarily acting of their own volition, but rather are compelled to keep relentlessly hunting Undead by their curse. They bear the sin of each Undead they have killed and are forced to kill more in order to give their deaths purpose. If the pursuers ultimately fail to exterminate the Undead, then what was the point of slaying the others? That sentiment seems to be what fuels the vengeful spirits’ curse. Being cursed by dark souls specifically also explains the smoke’s black hue, not to mention their ability to materialize out of thin air from it, fire cursed Dark orbs from where it leaks out, freely levitate, and survive the ages as if they were themselves Undead. Until undeath finally disappears from the world, they are bound by a curse to seek out the curse, for all eternity.